(July 8, 2022 / JNS)
Israeli President Isaac Herzog plans to present one of the Jewish state’s top honors to U.S. President Joe Biden next week during his first visit there since he took office.
According to a news release, Biden will be given Israel’s Presidential Medal of Honor for his decades-long support and friendship towards Israel and its people, and his commitment to Israel’s security; his contributions to deepening, strengthening and enhancing a strong U.S.-Israeli alliance; and his work to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias throughout the world.
Created by former Israeli President Shimon Peres and first awarded in 2012, the medal has so far been awarded to 26 individuals who have made lasting contributions to the State of Israel and the world on the recommendation of an advisory committee led by the late retired Israeli Supreme Court president, Justice Meir Shamgar.
Herzog reconstituted the advisory committee when he took office under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger.
“President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is a true friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” the committee wrote as its reasoning for giving the award. “The United States of America is Israel’s closest ally, a fact to which the president of the United States gives expression in word and deed. Since the start of President Biden’s career in public service in the 1970s, he has established himself as a person who loves Israel and is a true friend of the whole Jewish people.”
“For half a century, the president has stood by the State of Israel, has given his unconditional support to its right to exist and has fought with determination to expand U.S. assistance to Israel,” it continued. “In this, the president gives expression in word and deed to the importance of the alliance between Israel and the United States, to his commitment to deepen the cooperation between them, to his support for Israel’s security and to his commitment to firmly confront anti-Semitism.”
Biden will be presented with the award at a ceremony at the official Israeli president’s residence in Jerusalem.
Among those who have received the award are former President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.
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